By Arnold Kling
During this season of good cheer, I am reading A World Undone, G.J. Meyer’s history of the first World War.
Men with the power to decide the fate of Europe did the things that brought the war on and failed to do the things that might have kept the war from happening. They told lies, made mistakes, and missed opportunities. With few if any exceptions they were decent, well-intended men, and almost always they acted for what they thought were the best of reasons. But little of what they did produced the results they intended.
I tend to set the bar pretty low. I always said about my daughters that if they reached 18 without getting pregnant, addicted to drugs, or badly injured in an accident, I would feel pretty optimistic about their future. So far, so good.
Similarly, as far as government is concerned, I think that the fact that our leaders are not taking us into another first World War is something we ought to be happy about. World War I gets my vote for Worst Historical Event Ever, and it happened less than one hundred years ago. Today, we’re not sending most of our able-bodied men to go fight in trenches. Count your blessings.